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Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

Singapore, null...
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Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

Hi guys! My friends and I will be travelling from greymouth to wanaka and would like to break the trip with 1 night of camping in our fully self-contained campervan. We don't want to stay in franz or fox nor hasst campervan park.

We would like to try 1 night of freedom camping. Anyone have any recommended DoC campsite to recommend??

We are considering lake paringa as its situated at the middle of our route, but i could not find any detailed reviews about it. Please let me know if you have experiences with any of the campsites.

Please don't tell me to search as I've done my share of research already.

Please don't even try to discourage us to do campervan as it's already booked.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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1. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

This is a link to the Department of Conservation website for camping sites on the West Coast:

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

and a map of where they are located

…govt.nz/global/…westcoast-campsite-map.gif

California
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2. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

Lake Paringa would not be freedom camping. It's a standard DOC campsite which charges $6 per person. The only free DOC site in the area is Gillespie's Beach.

www.rankers.co.nz/respect has reviews.

Singapore, null...
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3. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

Hi I haven't thought of Gilllespie's beach. After researching that seems like a good choice as well! My only concern is that we're driving a 6 berth campervan. Will we be able to enter? Seems like the road in is narrow?

Blenheim, New...
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4. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

Gillespies Beach Camping ground is free and scenic, but often over crowded and a long drive down a narrow side road.

I quite like Bruce Bay for freedom camping, park up right on the coast and hear the waves smashing in. Its also pretty in a wild sort of way. Would often be joined by other campervans and a few tents, all freedom camping.

Lake Paringa Campground is surrounded by native bush, suspect it would be quite a cold camp ground in winter but pleasant in summer. About 2 minutes from the DOC Campground is a nice little commercial one with better facilities.

Quite a few people also freedom camp on the beach side of the Haast-Jackson bay road, but have not stayed there myself. Freedom camping is a pride kiwi tradition and I am a big supporter of it, just remember to leave only tyre tracks.

Edited: 08 May 2014, 04:40
Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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5. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

If you don't mind being north of FJG, I really liked the Otto-MacDonald DoC campsite on the shore of Lake Mapourika. Standard $6 pn.

…govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

Edited: 08 May 2014, 05:21
Singapore, null...
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6. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

Thank you for your great advice! I'll be doing it early June, we will be equipped with gas operated heaters.

I like the idea of Bruce Bay or Jackson Bay.

Where should we park our campervan along bruce bay? Are there any camp prohibited areas there?

What attractions does jackson bay offers? anyone knows?

Christchurch
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7. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

All Jacksons Bay offers is great scenery and maybe a bit of wildlife spotting, though that may be limited in winter. There are no "attractions" there. It has a very small and remote community and, as far as I remember, there aren't even any restaurants or cafes there. I do recall a little caravan that offered meals but I don't know if that would be there in winter.

Are you planning to visit the glaciers at all? If so then I would recommend the Otto-MacDonald DoC campsite as mentioned in a post above for being the closest and most convenient stop.

Singapore, null...
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8. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

I see. May i ask what kind of wildlife would i have a chance to spot at jacksons?

I read that there might be a chance to see wild dolphins at gillespie's beach? Also the seal colony (is the track still closed at the lagoon??)

We plan to do the short way to the free viewing point of the glaciers to take afew photos only. Not really interested in fox or franz as we feel that its too commercialize..

Blenheim, New...
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9. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

As far as I know these no bans on camping at Bruce Bay, heaps of people do it. These several large gravel areas on the side of the road where people pull over to see the Bay during the day. That is also where the Campervans park. The parking area at the northern most end is quite popular, but the other two obvious spots are also used.

Apart from a few houses and a fish processing building, the only things at Jackson Bay is a small Caravan Cafe which sells rather pricey fish and chips and other light meals. In saying that I nearly always buy a meal from them. Something magical about enjoying a meal while overlooking the harbour and trying not to laugh as Sandflies enjoy a meal from anyone who is not wearing repellent.. These also a couple of short hikes, a DOC information board and a old fishing wharf which I enjoy walking along.

From memory it takes about 40 minutes to drive to Jackson Bay from Haast, I really enjoy the drive but its quite the detour if you have limited time. . Most of the Campervans freedom much closer to Haast near the beach.

Blenheim, New...
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10. Re: Best DOC campsite along west coast highway?

Personally never seen much wildlife at Jackson Bay, at least not from the shore. just a few Shags and Gulls. Maybe a few fur seals.

These a chance of seeing little Blue Pengiuns and a even smaller chance to see Firodland Crested Penguins. You can see wild dolphins off most New Zealand beaches at times. It use to be possible to see all sorts of fish beneath the wharf, but they have long since been caught. I see Dolphins most times I head offshore so they are in the area but its pure luck wither they are close enough to see.

These also lots of tiny small native fish which you would see if you walk to the rather nice but wild little bay on the other side of the point. The walk takes about 10 minutes and well worth doing.